First Defense Legal Aid - Online Employee Schedule Software | Workforce Management –

“With a winning positive attitude, and a great framework that is constantly being updated with new features, ShiftPlanning is definitely the ultimate shift scheduling software available. It is completely in-valuable to our business and operation.”

– Taryn Wa – Savoury Chef –

Business Overview

For over 15 years, First Defense Legal Aid has been dedicated to issues of indigent defense, police accountability, and the protection of civil rights. FDLA’s mission is two-pronged: to ensure equal justice to people in custody at Chicago Police stations and to educate the people of Chicago about the power of their Constitutional rights.

First, FDLA provides a free, reliable, and experienced lawyer to individuals who are arrested in the city of Chicago. The FDLA attorney is available at the initial and most critical stage of the criminal justice process: from the time of arrest until the court system assigns a Public Defender. At the police station, the attorney helps the client understand and assert his or her rights, gathers information about arrest and detainment, documents evidence of police brutality, advocates for medical treatment, and informs the family and friends of the detainee throughout the process.

Second, in an effort to promote the Chicago Police Custody Hot-line and educate Chicagoans on the power of their Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights, FDLA presents Street Law in schools and community groups. The Street Law presentations focus on what to do if you are stopped, searched, or arrested by the police, how to assert your rights on the street and at the station, and what to do if you feel that the police have violated your civil rights.

FDLA was formed in 1993 to provide free legal help to people at Chicago police stations. Its programming has expanded to include community education and systemic change activities that benefit society as a whole.

Scheduling Overview

We have 3 paid employees and over 100 volunteers. We have 2 shifts a day, every day of the year: 6am-6pm and 6pm-6am. Because most employees are volunteers, we allow them to choose the shifts when they are available. It has been a challenge to let them know which shifts are open and which are covered at any given time without a public calendar to view.

Previous Scheduling Method

Our previous employee scheduling system consisted of lots of emails and phone calls and repeated emails to say “Sorry, that shift is covered, is there another that works for you?” Frustrating for the volunteers and time consuming for the staff.

Since ShiftPlanning

ShiftPlanning is exactly what we were looking for. It has simplified the process immensely. Volunteers can go look at the calendar, see what’s available and request any shift that’s open. Yes, we very highly recommend the work scheduler ShiftPlanning: for a non-profit like ours, there is no other way to go. We found the ShiftPlanning team to be responsive and the scheduling process is stress free. It has been simplified front and back.

Perfect.- Scott Finger – First Defense Legal Aid


We use the message wall to broadcast information to all volunteers. We use file sharing as a repository for copies of forms the volunteers use. Everything about the work scheduler ShiftPlanning has streamlined our operations and freed up the staff to attend to more important tasks.

Buzz From around the web

“We like that ShiftPlanning doesn't keep your data behind its walled garden.”


“With this tool, you can literally run tens of employees with ease.”


“It is an intuitive product, with a nice range of features.”

Contact us

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Phone: 1.888.973.6030

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